Yesterday the New York Times ran an article about the “plan” Max Baucus has finally crafted. It contains no public option, or even a “trigger” and only subsidizes coverage up to 300% of the poverty level instead of the 400% most advocates want. The Baucus bill would amount to a $900 billion big wet kiss to the insurance companies and a screw you to working Americans who would be forced to buy expensive insurance plans that they won’t like and that won’t provide the competition needed to bring prices down.
In a last effort to give the Senate a bipartisan health care bill, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee circulated a comprehensive proposal on Sunday to overhaul the health care system and proposed a new fee on insurance companies to help pay for coverage of the uninsured.
The proposal is the culmination of more than a year of work by the chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana. A similar fee was proposed by several liberal Democrats in July. In making it part of his proposal, Mr. Baucus may help cover the costs of the bill but also risks alienating Republicans whom he is trying to win over. Mr. Baucus is struggling to forge a bipartisan consensus among 6 of the 23 senators on his committee before President Obama puts new pressure on lawmakers in an address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday evening.
The proposal by Mr. Baucus does not include a public option, or a government-run insurance plan, to compete with private insurers, as many Democrats want.
The White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, appearing Sunday on the ABC News program “This Week,” said Mr. Obama saw the public plan as “a valuable tool” to promote choice and competition in the insurance market. But he stopped short of saying that the president would veto a bill without it.
It remains to be seen how Mr. Baucus’s plan might mesh with any proposals Mr. Obama lays out as he tries to pump up support for health care legislation, his top domestic priority.
Come on now…you didn’t expect anything real from Max Baucus and his gang of insurance company whores, did you? Because if you did I have a soon-to-be demolished bridge on I-35 to sell you. It would appear that Baucus crafted the bill with one Senator in mind – Olympia Snowe of Maine – and that Grassley and Enzi are not likely to back off their opposition and come aboard.
But it gets worse – the Baucus plan would pay for the subsidies to the insurance companies by levying a tax on the top-tier, gold-plated insurance plans that the companies would immediately pass on to consumers in the form of higher premiums. But Max does want you to think that he is thinking of the little guy – his plan would limit out-of-pocket expenses for co-pays and patient responsibility to just under $6,000 for an individual and $12,000 for a family – excluding premiums.
Now, the House is going to receive this piece of shit legislation with all the scorn, contempt and ridicule it deserves, but the fact still remains that the Senate is the choke point for any legislation that will eventually be passed, and the Senate in the 111th congress is a pathetic joke that can’t overcome a filibuster because our majority leader is an inept, impotent clown and the minority party has made him their bitch.
The only prayer we have of real reform is the reconciliation process – and if you didn’t believe that before, you certainly ought to now.
Crossposted from They Gave Us a Republic